There are many things that we take for granted in our lives; glass, computers, TV’s, and smartphones to name a few. None of these things would exist in our modern world if it wasn’t for one vital ingredient – silicon.
A huge volume of silicon is used in aluminium components for cars – things like engine blocks and wheels are made with aluminium-silicon alloys to save weight over traditional cast iron, which is heavy and results in higher fuel consumption.
Silicon is also used in aviation and aerospace construction, electronics, health care, household products, paints and coatings, paper and film, personal care products, rubber, adhesives, textiles, cosmetics, sunscreens, photovoltaic solar panels, led lighting, bakeware and cookware, semiconductors, and microprocessors.
A quite remarkable list considering the basic ingredient is quartz, a rock so common it makes up about 20 per cent of the Earth’s crust.
Here’s Daniel Mance, from Australian silicon producer Simcoa to take us through the process of making silicon.